Bottlebrush Frost Lichen

This species is the most common Physconia at Sedgwick. Lobes are rounded and partly overlapping, somewhat concave, and closely appressed to the substrate. The upper surface is gray to brown, and often white-pruinose, and the lower side pale tan at the edge but darker inward. This species is highly variable in appearance, depending on whether it is in sun or shade. Soredia are abundant, often as continuous marginal bands and in laminal patches toward the center. Few apothecia are seen. Another species, Physconia enteroxantha, is also similar, except for its yellowish medulla (inner tissue), visible at cracks or cuts. The thallus in the photograph was growing on metal of an abandoned farm machine, surrounded by small thalli of a Xanthoria.

Nearly 150 species of lichen have been identified on the 5,896 acre UCSB Sedgwick Reserve in the Santa Ynez Valley.  With funding from John and Heidi Rabel, CCBER has published Lichens of Sedgwick Reserve and Santa Barbara County. This guide helps to identify 56 of the species with descriptions by lichenologist Dr. Shirley Tucker  and stunning, full color photographs by Chris Broughton, Professor of Photography at Brook’s Institute, providing a fascinating view of the beauty and complex symbiotic nature of lichens.

Photo Credit: Heather Liu